Tilbake til søkeresultatene

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Breeding phenology of Svalbard snow buntings in relation to arthropod abundance

Tildelt: kr 75 999

In my master thesis, I will investigate the reproductive success of a Svalbard breeding population of the snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis in relation to food abundance. The snow bunting is the world’s northernmost breeding passerine species. Assessing how species like the snow bunting are able to adapt is critical for understanding ecosystem dynamics in a rapidly warming Arctic. Adult snow buntings feed mostly on plant material, but they provision their young with arthropods. By examining how breeding success in snow buntings relates to food abundance, I aim to determine whether climate change is inducing a mismatch between snow bunting breeding phenology and the timing of arthropod peak biomass. To distinguish the complex effects of climate change from the large inter-annual variation characteristic for the Arctic, long-term monitoring data is essential. This project is part of the snow bunting long-term monitoring project (SNOWBUNTING, RiS ID 2272) which has monitored the annual reproductive success of snow buntings since 1998. The project registers onset of breeding, clutch size, nestling weight, and fledgling success in response to local weather and largescale climatic parameters. Since 2014, it also includes monitoring of seasonal variation in insect abundance. My fieldwork will cover all monitoring in 2024, ensuring the continuation of the long-term time series. Together with data from the previous years, the 2024 data will be critical to understand the relationship between snow bunting breeding phenology and the timing of arthropod peak biomass. The field campaign is scheduled from June 10th until mid-August. Nest monitoring will require almost daily fieldwork until mid-July. Arthropods will be monitored with pitfall traps, emptied every 4th day between June 10th – August 18th. Collected arthropods will be identified to group-level and their dry weight estimated to investigate seasonal variation in arthropod abundance.


SSF-Svalbard Science Forum